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Good Friday storm causes widespread flooding

First responders rescued motorists trapped in high water, roads were closed at the usual flooding spots, forecasters issued a flash flood warning and power crews worked to get the lights back on as a Good Friday storm swamped Henderson County and the southern mountains.

The storm knocked down a tree that then took down 4-5 power poles on Greenville Highway at Rutledge Drive. Fletcher Fire and Rescue personnel helped one person out of a car in floodwaters and Hendersonville police responded to two occupants who scrambled out of their car after it stalled in the flooded waters of Mud Creek on Seventh Avenue East. The storm had dropped 5.05 inches of rain by 5 p.m. at the Asheville Regional Airport, the National Weather Service said.

"Flash flooding is taking place in Mills River, Etowah, Cane Creek and Fletcher and along Mud Creek, the typical low-lying areas that flood first," county Emergency Management Director Jimmy Brissey said. "Fire Departments are responding to numerous calls for power lines and trees down." Countywide, 2,049 customers had no electricity on Friday morning. Transylvania and Polk counties had less than 10 outages each.

PowerlinesA downed tree took down power lines on Greenville Highway at Rutledge Road on Friday.Brissey said Duke Energy officials had told him that power was still on to customers fed by the Greenville Highway lines which sagged toward the roadway. Duke Energy district manager Craig DeBrew said  the majority of the Henderson County in the Spartan Heights area around Spartanburg Highway at Upward Road. If Duke Energy crews have to replace the power poles on Greenville Highway they likely will have to cut the power, he said.

Flooding closed roads throughout the county, including many on the south side of Hendersonville.

"The heaviest rain has been in Etowah, Fletcher and Mills River," Brissie said. "There could be a few more heavy bands coming through but a lot of it they’re estimating will break up as it reaches the mountains." The pattern is expected to continue through the afternoon — "a period of heavy rain followed by a lull."

The storm was caused by "a really powerful low that's been developing all day to our west," meteorologist Patrick Moore, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said. A cold front will follow, with much cooler temperatures on Saturday. "Hendersonville will be struggling to get above 50 degrees," he said. "It's probably going to be cloudy across the mountains for the better part of the day."

A flash flood warning remained in effect until 11:15 p.m. Friday. Easter Sunday should be sunny with a high of 65. Those going out early for a sunrise service should bundle up. The low early Sunday is expected to be about 38.